SKELETONS by Eric Sauter


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Sauter's hard-cover debut (following two paperback originals) is an unusually nasty--and effective--tale of a cat-and-mouse game between a Philadelphia cop and a psychotically violent burglar. The basics are as lethally familiar as the ingredients for a Molotov cocktail. The burglar is Edward Grant--handsome, cultured, and sexually driven to invade the lives and homes of women he's seduced. When he breaks into the Society Hill apartment of psychiatrist Julia Weinstein, his increasingly violent vandalism--he rarely steals anything of value--turns into murder. At the same time, Patrick Paige, the detective assigned to the case, gets a promising lead on Grant and tries to get Grant's earlier lover and burglary victim Marlene Trombly to identify him. The plan falls apart when Marlene leaves a stakeout at the Academy of Music with Grant because she wants to see him again, and Paige, struggling to exorcise his own dead--his wife was killed by a burglar who turns out to have been deeply involved with Paige's cop-father--sets up another unwilling decoy, burglar Caroline King. The sequel is predictably brutal; what isn't predictable is the sense of rottenness, of festering evil, that Sauter evokes from Paige's identification with Grant, Grant's obsession with destroying Paige, and the Philadelphia streets and rowhouses in which the men play out their murderous competition. Despite the absence of onstage sex, everything here turns into a horrifically sexualized nightmare. Recommended for readers who sleep too well.

Pub Date: June 25th, 1990
Publisher: Dutton